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Higher Education and Developing Countries: Peril and Promise

The Task Force on Higher Education and Society was convened by the World Bank and UNESCO, bringing together experts from 13 countries to explore the future of higher education in the developing world. The Task Force's report concluded that without more and better higher education, developing countries will find it increasingly difficult to benefit from the global knowledge-based economy.

Chapter 5 — which deals with science and technology — says that higher education an absolute and irreducible prerequisite to developing a strong science and technology base, but that the lack of well-qualified science and technology teachers and researchers is a widespread problem in developing countries, particularly in Africa with its very small base of individuals who can create a science-oriented culture.

The report notes that as developing countries having so few scientists, the impact of migration can be enormous and that it is compounded by the so-called "camp-follower" phenomenon. It concludes that it is vital to the future of developing countries that they turn to the task of systematically nurturing — and retaining — their science and technology talent.

 

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